The greatest honor a Hollywood star can receive is to have his or her footprints immortalized in the wet cement outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and if you're lucky, you may be able to see one of these mega-stars receive that honor in person.
Remaining space on the famous Chinese courtyard is scarce (there have been only 175 impressions to this date,) and is reserved for true superstars. For the last couple of decades, new impressions in the legendary cement were rare. But in the last few years, the Chinese Theatre seems to have decided to update its forecourt with more new names, so now it seems that every few months or so they give one of the rare remaining empty blocks to a deserving actor or actress.
In recent years Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Carrey, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg and Bruce Willis have all received the honor of placing their hands and feet in the famous wet cement. Not long ago, the entire seven-member cast of the original "Star Trek" TV series had their prints immortalized here, as did Darth Vader and the personable robots from "Star Wars." In the last couple of years, they have also added Danny Glover, Warren Beatty, Susan Sarandon, Walter Matthau, Al Pacino, Michael Douglas, Steven Seagal,and director Robert Zemekis.
When a star does receive this ultimate "star treatment," it's a big day indeed. Only the creme de la creme of Hollywood are granted this honor, and naturally the stars must make a personal appearance - which gives you the opportunity to see them in person.
There is an official dedication ceremony outside of the Chinese Theatre, and members of the press show up in droves to record the scene for posterity: electronic flashes popping and cameras whirring as the movie star kneels down and presses his palm prints into the wet cement. The star also plants his feet in the cement, and adds his own personal message & autograph (using with a long stick).
The public is welcome to watch, although they are kept at a safe distance from the wet cement (and the star). Over a thousand people turned to watch from the bleachers set up on the south side of Hollywood Boulevard when Arnold Schwarzenegger got his feet wet.
Since so few new stars are granted this privilege, the chances are long indeed of such an installation ceremony taking place in any given week - or even in any given month. One such event was on Thursday, March 19, 1995 at 12 noon, when Bruce Willis got his footprints immortalized there. By some fortunate "coincidence," the ceremony just happened to be scheduled for the opening day of Bruce's latest film, "Die Hard: With A Vengeance"... (Just as Arnold's courtyard event coincided with the opening of his movie "True Lies.")
It's not unusual for other Hollywood celebrities - friends and family of the honoree - to attend these installation ceremonies as well (offering even more opportunity for star-gazing).
For instance, when comic madman Jim Carrey was honored at the forecourt (in November of 1995), a number of his fellow celebs turned out at the ceremony to congratulate him, including friends Clint Eastwood, Rodney Dangerfield, Nicolas Cage and Jay Leno. Demi Moore also put in an appearance by the side of hubby Bruce Willis when he got the honor. Michael Douglas had his footprints placed right next to those of his famous father, Kirk Douglas, who also showed up for the installation ceremony, as did Michael's friend, Jack Nicholson.
The usually reliable Hollywood Hotline doesn't give out information about these footprint ceremonies, and if you call the normal number for the Chinese Theatre (323) 464-8111), you'll just get a recording about movie show times. Instead, you might want to call the theatre at (818) 784-6266, press #3 for public relations, and you'll reach a live person who might be able to help you.
Alternatively, you can get the same information by going to Mann's official website, at http://www.manntheatres.com/new.shtml#footprint.
Getting there: Grauman's Chinese Theatre is located at the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive, just west of Highland Avenue. The theatre's renowned forecourt is right in front of the theatre. / From Hollywood & Vine, head west on Hollywood Boulevard (about three quarters of a mile) to just past Highland Avenue (and just before Orange Drive). The theatre will be on your right (north) side. You can't miss it.
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